Modernizing your servers to newer platforms have several benefits, in addition to the newer technologies. With newer technologies and servers you can lower your TCO, from power consumption to server reduction to improvements to save your end users time. You can improve the overall health of your server, by moving to the new server environments you can read a nice little post here, from Weston Morris: Server modernization
But how do you get there?
Server migration can be a complex task especially when you look at some of the core workloads running on your server. Not mention what about your 32 bit servers? Most, if not all, of the server hardware coming out today are 64 bit systems. So now you are not only looking at how to migrate your operating system but also now you have to migrate your platform. Which you cannot do in-place. These migrations become a moving migration or swing migration, where you move your existing workloads to brand new out of the crate servers.
Worried don’t be! The migration process is designed to help mitigate risks. First, off migration is a copy and paste style of operation. Meaning your original (or source) server does not get changed, and your destination server has the data copied over. If there is a problem you can always rollback or reformat your new server.
Secondly with Windows Server 2008 R2 there is a great set of resources to assist you in migrating your server workloads. You can access a ton of great technical and planning guidance via the migration center located here: Migrate Server Roles to Windows Server 2008 R2, which currently will give you guidance on how to migrate 12 server workloads, like Active Directory or Hyper-V. Before your even use the tools, take a look at the guidance for your particular workload, it will provide pre-planning, migration guidance and post migration cleanup. After you have planned your migration, it is a matter of installing the proper tools, which can be installed on your Windows 2003 or 2008 servers and there is even a 32 bit version for your older servers.
So take a look at the migration guidance and have great migration.